What excuse can I use for a late Tax return?


There are may legitimate reasons why you may struggle to submit your tax return before the 31 January deadline, but don’t expect much sympathy from HMRC who have recently published a  list of the ‘Top 10 oddest excuses’ for sending in a tax return late and incurring the £100 late filing  penalty.

Perhaps the most unusual is the builder who claimed he was so upset when his pet goldfish died that he failed to submit his self assessment return on time.

Other “bizarre, exotic and flimsy” excuses (HMRC’s term not ours) include:

  • the farmer who said his delay was because of a ‘run-in with a cow’.
  • the hairdresser who said claimed her husband told her the deadline was 31 March
  • the self-employed trader who said his wife refused to hand over his mail.
  • A woman in London claimed that after seeing a volcanic eruption on the news, she was unable to concentrate on anything else so failed to file her return
  • the taxi driver who claimed his bad back meant he could not go upstairs to where his tax return was (despite working at the time)
  • a writer based who insisted that touring the country with a one-man play meant he was too busy to handle tax paperwork.
  • the South East taxpayer who stated he had been cruising round the world in his yacht, and only picking up post when on dry land,
  • and the financial services firm which informed HMRC ‘our business doesn’t really do anything’.

But perhaps our favourite was the Accountant, who said he had been “too busy submitting clients’ tax returns to deal with his own”.

HMRC reports that all of these people and businesses received a £100 penalty for filing late. They appealed against the decision using these excuses, but were unsuccessful.

For all tax advice contact your local Burgis & Bullock office or use our online contact form.

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